The XO / XS Repair Service Center
There will be 15,000 XOs and 49(+?) XS' in the immediate vicinity within the next 6 months. The (Birmingham City Schools) Bord of Educaton (as owner of the project and the XS' - yet not the XOs) may or may not be cooperating. Service contracts with The Board are possible, but at the moment nothing to bet money on. Warranty on the first 1,000 XOs will expire around May 17th.
 So What?
If failure rates are somewhere near 1% per year this calls for 150 repairs. In industrial environments failure rates for mobile equipmenmt (even rugedized) is more in the 5 - 10% range, but there workers don't own their equipment and it is getting about 18 hours of heavy usage per week day and workers are not allowed to fix their equipment. Here (--> XO) 1/3 of the incidents may be fixed by the owners / kids themselves.
At new unit replacement prices somewhere in the $200 - $400 range (subject to availability and delivery times), repair can't hope to regularly charge more than 50% of the replacement value and would have to provide (more than 30 days of?) warranty on the work provided.
If 50% of the repair charges go to shipping and paying for spare parts, this leaves (150 x $300 x 50% =) $22,500 p.a. for the repair center to cover its costs.
Looking at these numbers the venture should be stopped right here.
The service (not just repair) center may none the less flourish if the customer / client base can be enlarged and 'high value' services get created. Here I am thinking of community centers, churches, local businesses with hot spots, and the like which might want to provide (content filtered?) web access for XO users. They could use something like a community XS server which could mirror several (near by) school's moodle (or other) contents.
So looking at the numbers, a mere repair shop won't be able to survive on much less than about 50,000 XOs as possible customer base (in the US - third world requirements for generated income may be less).
The only option for a full time job to be created is by expanding the services to related areas. Unfortunately the XS development seems far (!) from supporting this kind of venture.
 What To Do With 2(+) Broken XOs?
What would I do with the 2(+) DOA / broken XOs (supplied by olpc in an effort to enable the shop's opening)?
First, what would I not do: Turn them into one working one and sell it on something like ebay.
I'd take them apart, verify which modules are still ok, and start advertising the service at the pilot school.
 graphical guidelines / icons / templates
I posted a request for Art Work on Art_wanted. See XO Repair Shop line item.
Hopefully someone will pick up the challenge to provide some art work for providing repair Shops with some 'corporate design elements'.
Two media scenarios enter my mind: Print and on-line. Maybe something like the icon you see when shutting down your XO (second row, second from the left --> XO with broken display and wrench). Actually maybe two icons, one optimized for black and white (print) reproduction and one for color (--> print media and Repair Shop web sites). And some design guidelines on howto create a flyer (/ website) that quickly establishes a visiual link to the XO project. Maybe even an iconic sequence reflecting the http://www.laptop.org homepage theme but using only three symbols instead of four: The - broken - XO, the arrow, and a wrench (leaving out the '1' on the left).
I don't want to require repair shops to use it (this is no franchise), but we all could benefit from some of OLPC's sparkle ;-)
AuntiMame offered this logo / icon: and I used it in this pretty bad Flyer.
Tomorrow I'll try to meet the pilot school's principal (he doesn't / hasn't yet respond/ed to email...) and will see if I can post / leave them at his school.